It’s that time of year again. Shopping trolleys are piled high, cupboards and fridges are bulging. A lot of people will be cooking more complicated dishes or for more people than they have before. My Christmas Category is full of great recipes and ideas for lots of Christmas main-stays, from meats and accompaniments to desserts.
I hope these recipes will help make readers’ lives a bit easier. I know it’s easier said than done, but don’t stress about cooking at Christmas. It’ll be ready when it’s ready, just make sure everyone has enough to drink and you’ll be fine!
The most popular recipe on my blog is Garlic, Soy & Honey Pork Belly Slices, which in itself is a fairly easy and quick recipe (minus the marinading time), but this is a super quick and lazy alternative using shop-bought stir-fry sauce. I love the hoisin and garlic variety, but any flavour could be used.
Pork belly slices – 3 per person
Stir fry sauce – 1 sachet per 10-12 slices
- Line a baking tray with tin foil, arrange slices on tray and cover with stir fry sauce, coating well.
- Cook in a preheated oven at 160°C/Fan 140°C/Gas 3 for 40 mins-1 hour. Turn occasionally if you want.
- Turn the oven up to 210°C/Fan 190°C/Gas 7 for 15 minutes to crisp up. If you like it more crispy place on a wire rack.
Pork ribs are a really economical cut of meat and slow cooking is a great way to get them tender and falling off the bone.
This great one-pot meal will serve 4.
Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
Onions – 2 (diced)
Garlic – 4 cloves (crushed)
Vinegar – 3 tablespoons
Tomato puree – 2 tablespoons
Soy sauce – 3 tablespoons
Honey – 3 tablespoons
Spices – hot paprika and chilli flakes (to taste)
Oxo cubes – 2
Boiled water – 1 pint
Carrots – 3 (chopped)
Potatoes – 2 large (peeled & quartered)
Ribs – 2 racks (halved)
- Season the ribs with paprika and an oxo cube.
- Heat the frying pan and add the olive oil. Brown the ribs on both sides.
- Meanwhile, place all the other ingredients in the slow cooker, and set to high.
- Once the ribs are browned, place them in the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours, or until the meat falls off the bone.
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Christmas really isn’t complete without the sides, they really do make the meal.
I love Yorkshire puddings. I may even be addicted to them. My recipe is easy to follow and foolproof.
Pigs in Blankets:
Meat wrapped in more meat, to me this is the spirit of Christmas.
This family recipe is a firm favourite in my house. We always end up making too much but somehow it all gets eaten.
This delicious real gravy recipe is great, and a lot easier than you’d think to make.
I hope that these and my other posts help, and that you all have a wonder Christmas.
What to Cook for Christmas: Meat & Poultry
What to Cook for Christmas: Vegetables
What to Cook for Christmas: Desserts
Christmas is the time to go to town and make your own gravy from scratch. It’s easier than you think and gives really tasty results. This recipe is for goose, but you can use the same method for turkey or other poultry.
Giblets (neck, heart and gizzard, not the liver)
Water or chicken stock
Onions – 2 (quartered)
Celery – 1 stick (chopped)
Carrot – 1 (chopped)
Black peppercorns – about half a dozen
Plain flour – 2 tablespoons
Corn flour (optional for thicker gravy) – a tablespoon mixed with a little water
- Brown the giblets in a large saucepan. Add a litre/2 pints of hot water or stock. Bring to the boil and skim off any scum.
- Add the vegetables and seasoning, and simmer for an hour. Strain, then cool and store in fridge until the roast is ready.
- While the bird is resting after cooking, remove all but one tablespoon of fat from the roasting tin.
- Put the roasting tin on the hob (medium heat), gradually add the plain flour and whisk constantly for a few minutes.
- Pour in the giblet stock (about half a pint per 4 people). Bring to the boil, and simmer for a few minutes, season. If you want a thicker gravy add corn flour and simmer until desired consistency.
This week I’ve already blogged about the meats and desserts to have for Christmas dinner, this post is about another vital part of your meal, the vegetables! Below are some suggestions for vegetable dishes, just click on the titles to link through to my original blog posts.
Goose Fat Roasted Potatoes:
Christmas wouldn’t be complete without roast potatoes. Always do twice as many as you think you need, any leftovers can be reheated.
Another Christmas staple for carb lovers.
Fancy something a little more impressive looking but super easy to prepare, then give these a try.
Carrot & Swede Mash:
This mash can be made in advance and reheated on the day.
Honey Roasted Carrots & Parsnips:
A delicious recipe for veg lovers.
Ok, so this one is not an original recipe. but why peel a pound of sprouts for the one person that likes them? Sometimes it makes more sense to be kind to yourself and just get a bag out of the freezer! It’s Christmas for the cook too, so don’t stress yourself out and be too exhausted to enjoy the fruits of your labours.
The traditional British Christmas dessert is, of course, Christmas pudding, but not everyone likes fruitcake. Here are a few alternatives that everyone will love, just click on the titles to take you to the original post.
Mary Berry’s Chocolate Yule Log:
An impressive looking dessert, perfect for chocolate lovers. It was easier to make than you’d think too!
The Ultimate Baked Cheesecake:
I’ve been perfecting this recipe, and now it’s very popular. It’s what I’ll be eating on Christmas day.
Vanilla Ice Cream:
This rich creamy ice cream is a great on its own or served as an accompaniment to other desserts.
Self-Saucing Chocolate Pudding:
A lovely gooey pudding perfect for winter.
Christmas is coming! Now is the time to think about the main event. Turkey is not the only option for Christmas dinner, and to be perfectly honest I’m not the bird’s biggest fan. Here are some other options for your table this Christmas.
This is the traditional British festive bird, and a favourite of mine for Christmas dinner. There isn’t as much meat as on a turkey, but it’s great if you’re just cooking for immediate family as it serves around 8 people. Advantages of cooking goose are that you can use the excess fat for your Goose Fat Roasted Potatoes and as it’s a flatter bird you can get more in the oven. Check out my Roast Goose recipe from a couple of years ago.
Lamb is a great meat to cook as it’s generally tender and stays quite moist. If you like lean meat Roast Leg of Lamb is great. If you need to save space in your oven you can cook your potatoes and/or veggies in the same roasting dish. For a super low-maintenance dinner try my Slow Cooker Roasted Lamb recipe.
Whether there are two or twenty of you for Christmas dinner, beef is a great meat to scale recipes up and down. You can use special cuts or recipes to make it a bit different from Sunday dinner, such as Steak en Croute or Beef Wellington. If there’s just a couple of you try my Boneless Rib of Beef recipe.
Pork is a really great meat for those on a budget. Roast Shoulder of Pork is affordable and tastes great, plus everyone loves crackling. To save space in your oven why not try the slow cooker version of my Braised Pork recipe, which can be made with pork leg or shoulder.
I hope these ideas and recipes inspire and help you this Christmas.
I love cheesecake, so making my own was a bit of a no-brainer. It’s taken me over a year to develop and perfect this recipe, and the work has certainly paid off. Everyone who has tried it loves it. Be warned, your friends might not invite you around to their houses any more unless you bring cheesecake!
The secret to a good cheesecake is a really good cream cheese. When I first started to make this recipe I used Philadelphia, but last year they changed the recipe, and it just doesn’t cut it any more. After a lot of searching I found a great substitute, in Lidl! Lidl’s full fat cream cheese is perfect, and a perfect price, at 50p a pack, making this dessert really great for those on a budget.
If you want a great Christmas dessert this is the one for you! It’s made the day before so time and oven-space are freed up on the big day.
Using fresh ingredients this dessert should be fine kept in the fridge for about 4 days, though in my house is never makes it passed the second day!
Gingersnaps – 175g (crumbed/blitzed)
Butter – 60g (melted), plus a little for greasing tin
Sugar – 1 tablespoon
Cream cheese – 600g (3 packs)
Whole eggs – 2 large
Egg yolk – 1
Sugar – 175g
Cornflour – 1 tablespoon
Vanilla extract – 1 teaspoon
Sour cream – 250ml
Equipment: Electric mixer (I used my Kenwood Chef)/electric whisk, food processor, small saucepan, 23cm springform tin, baking parchment, small saucepan, spatula.
- Line the bottom of the springform tin and grease.
- Melt the butter in the small saucepan over a low heat. Add the blitzed biscuits and tablespoon of sugar, and combine well. Decant into cake tin and press down evenly to form the base. Bake in a preheated oven (fan 150°C/170°C/gas mark 3) for 10 minutes until it starts to brown. Remove from oven and make sure it’s completely cold before you add the topping, unless you want a soggy bottom.
- Using the K-beater, beat the cream cheese on a medium-low speed until it’s creamy.
- Gradually add sugar, vanilla extract and cornflour, mix well for a few minutes until the texture lightens.
- Switch from K-beater to whisk. Add the eggs and yolk one at a time, then add the sour cream.
- Whisk the mixture well, it should be smooth and airy. Meanwhile, grease the sides of the springform tin and preheat oven at fan 180°C/200°C/ gas mark 6.
- Pour into the springform tin, place it on a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 15 minutes.
- Reduce oven temp to fan 100°C/110°C/ gas mark ¼, and bake for about 25 minutes. The filling should have a slight wobble to it.
- Turn off the oven. Leave the door shut for 20 minutes, then open it slightly and leave the cheesecake inside for another hour and a half. The top may crack (mine do about 60% of the time), but this doesn’t effect the flavour in any way.
- Remove from oven and let it cool before putting it in the fridge covered with foil. It needs to set in the fridge for at least 8 hours.
- Remove from tin and serve.